The Future Prosperity of Wales Is in the balance but a bright future for Wales is within our grasp - St David’s day message from Unite

To mark St David’s day 2019, Unite Wales regional secretary Peter Hughes has issued a warning that Wales’ future prosperity lies in the balance as a result of the UK Tory government’s disinterest in Wales and its devastating austerity agenda.

In a message to Unite members to mark St David’s Day Peter Hughes said: “Wales is a very proud nation with a sense of fairness at its core, a direct result of its radical socialist roots and strong trade union traditions. Wales has some of the most skilled workers in the UK with a strong manufacturing sector. Despite chronic lack of UK government investment, particularly in large infrastructure projects, Wales is the fastest growing country in the UK with economic output rising to £62bn in 2017. We have a vibrant capital city in Cardiff which is thriving and fast becoming a major economic hub on a European level.

"Despite this some parts of Wales remain some of the poorest areas in the UK, Wales could achieve so much more. This optimistic growth being delivered in Wales has been achieved whilst we have faced a UK government hammering Wales with year on year reductions in the Welsh government budget. Added to this has been a devastating austerity agenda which is decimating family incomes across our poorest communities. The Tory government has been consumed by its appalling handling of the Brexit process, resulting in landmark Welsh infrastructure projects such as Wylfa Newydd and the Swansea Tidal lagoon falling by the wayside. Prime minister Theresa May says her prime objective is the preservation of the ‘precious union’ yet Brexit risks the devastation of this forgotten part of the UK.

"Wales has managed to keep its head above the water only due to the fact that we have had a Labour led National Assembly for Wales since 1999. Cardiff Bay has proved to be an effective barrier against the Tory assault and neglect of Wales. Welsh government has recognised that trade unions are a force for good and the most effective means of raising economic prosperity that exists. The trade union movement is recognised by Welsh government as a social partner alongside business. A new commitment to enshrine social partnership through Welsh government legislation, will put the trade union movement at the core of the Welsh political process for generations to come.

"Contrast this approach with the UK government’s continued hostility to the trade union movement and you can see the difference that a progressive modern approach to governing looks like. In Mark Drakeford Wales has a leader in the radical socialist tradition who has the ideas and strategy needed to lead Wales into a prosperous future.

"Unite is a strong, fighting back union with organising new workers central to its approach. The first minister recognises the importance of trade unions to Welsh life and shares our ambition to grow trade union membership across our nation. There are Unite members in workplaces, big and small, across every part of Wales. Our challenge is to extend our reach and break into new workplaces and growing sectors of the economy. Only yesterday Unite signed a recognition agreement with Hitachi Rail in Swansea meaning that many new members will be able to enjoy the protections and collective bargaining that being a member of our union brings.

"On St David’s Day 2019 there are reasons to be positive. Unite is determined to work closely with a modern socialist Welsh government for the benefit of everyone in Wales.

"Dydd Gwyl Dewi i pawb o feen Cymru ac tu hwnt."


Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.